The gods could be crazy, or they simply may not like IT very much. Over the past decade, trend after trend has arisen to give power back to developers to get their work done, and away from the bureaucratic IT staff that want to manage that work. IT, however, has the potential to claim a very valuable role in the changing enterprise, but requires a new mindset and mission.
In a new research report (executive summary available for free), Gartner articulates this shift away from IT-as-king to IT-as-facilitator, and how the cloud fosters the trend:
In 2010, organizations were compelled to consume IT services from external cloud providers to achieve their business, budget, and IT goals. But organizations realize that external cloud computing is not a panacea. They still need internal data centers to house critical applications and data. However, the use of external cloud providers has conditioned organizations to expect IT resources — whether internal or external — that are offered in an on-demand, self-service manner. Therefore, IT organizations are forced to offer IT services by using the same consumption model or otherwise risk extinction.
Poor IT. First it had to deal with the rise of open source, and now cloud. Both trends have forced IT to loosen its stranglehold on the software, hardware, and services used with the enterprise. All of the arguments that failed against open source are also failing to stem the tide of cloud computing.
And rightly so.
But none of this means that IT is dead. It just means, as Gartner points out, that IT’s role needs to change. For example, DevOps is a very real phenomenon, but I suspect few organizations will have the know-how or brazen courage to take the Netflix route and embrace DevOps completely. The trick is to give developers more flexibility without imposing on them the burden of setting up and managing all infrastructure themselves. Yes, some will want precisely this. But most just want greater influence over the tools they use.
They’re not going to get this from OpenView or any of the legacy tools from legacy vendors. They’re just not going to blend private and public cloud resources, host their code on GitHub, and be bothered with clunky old management tools. It’s not going to happen.
So IT needs to redefine its new role. And it needs to get new tools for doing so. Or it’s going to evaporate into obsolescence.